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2013 Mazda CX-9

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2013 Mazda CX-9 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.0

The 2013 Mazda CX-9 bucks that old adage about not having your cake and eating it, too. In the case of Mazda's biggest vehicle, the CX-9 offers the roominess of a large SUV, yet boasts the driving dynamics of a smaller sport sedan. This 3-row, 7-passenger vehicle also bucks the status quo with its exterior styling. Instead of the chunky looks of rivals such as the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot, the Mazda is rounded and sleek with a stance that says, "Let's drive." It doesn't take long of doing just that to realize this big vehicle feels much smaller on the road. The CX-9 won't conquer boulder-strewn trails or tow massive loads, but as far as people movers go, it's hard to find one in its $30,000 price range that's more invigorating to drive.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need a vehicle that can haul a family, but your heart still yearns for a car that's fun to drive, the Mazda CX-9 will give you the best of both worlds.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you regularly need to carry adults in the 3rd-row seats, the larger Chevrolet Traverse offers more room. If you require an SUV that can tow more than 3,500 pounds, check out the Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse, or Ford Explorer.

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the CX-9 receives a freshened exterior with a new design front and rear. Inside, a 5.8-inch color touchscreen is standard, as is a new infotainment system with HD Radio, Pandora Internet radio connectivity, text-to-speech capability, and a new microphone for better speech recognition. Blind-spot monitoring and a rear-view camera now come to the mid-level Touring models.

Driving the CX-9

Driving Impressions Most people don't expect spirited acceleration or much corner-carving ability from a large SUV. Nor should they. These vehicles are designed for hauling people, not necessarily derriere. The CX-9 is...

a welcome exception. Stomp on the right pedal and you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how quickly the Mazda's 273-horsepower V6 gets this big vehicle up to speed on the freeway. And the CX-9 isn't just good in a straight line. True to that "zoom-zoom" marketing slogan, even Mazda's largest vehicle tackles corners with confidence. The CX-9 is also comfortable. Around town or on the highway, the 2013 CX-9 is relatively quiet, comfortable and easy to drive. Like other SUVs – 3-row ones especially – visibility to the rear left and rear right is hampered. Here the standard blind-spot monitoring system on Touring and Grand Touring models really helps. We are also impressed with the plush driver's seat and easy-to-reach controls.

TOUCHSCREEN DISPLAY & INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
New for 2013, all Mazda CX-9 models receive a color touchscreen display in the center dash that adds sophistication and features. In addition to offering navigation functionality, the system relays messages from smartphones and has a built-in HD Radio tuner, which offers high-quality, subscription-free AM/FM broadcasts.

FLEXIBLE 2ND-ROW SEAT
In addition to folding in a 60/40 split, the 2nd-row bench seat in the CX-9 slides, reclines, and offers easy access to the 3rd-row via a 1-handed release. This all makes for better overall passenger comfort and great cargo flexibility.

2013 Mazda CX-9 Details
2013 Mazda CX-9 photo Interior

The 2013 Mazda CX-9 has a sleek, modern interior. In upper-end models, its cabin borders on luxury-car plush. If swaths of black material are not your cup of tea, leather-trimmed sand-hued upholstery is available for this model year in Touring and Grand Touring models (base Sport trims are stuck with black cloth). The new 5.8-inch color touchscreen in the middle of the dash also helps make the CX-9 feel like a more up-level vehicle. The front seats are plush, but the 3rd-row might be a tight squeeze for adults.

Exterior
2013 Mazda CX-9 photo

The CX-9 stands out among larger SUVs with a sleek style that looks more sport wagon than traditional SUV. Updates for 2013 keep Mazda's biggest hauler looking fresh. The grille has been revamped to appear more cohesive. Gone is the 2-tiered look of a narrow honeycomb grille above what some equated to a huge "grin," replaced for 2013 with a more contemporary 1-piece housing with flowing horizontal lines. The headlights are now more sweeping, while the taillights are bolder in red and the twin exhaust outlets appear smaller and round versus the larger, elongated shape of previous models.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 CX-9 comes in three trims: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Base Sport models come well-equipped with tri-zone automatic climate control, a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with AM/FM/CD/ HD radio with auxiliary and USB inputs and six speakers, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and 18-inch wheels. Touring models add a blind-spot monitor and rearview camera with rear backup sensors, leather upholstery, and heated, power front seats. Top-line Grand Touring models ladle on even more, including automatic bi-xenon headlights, a power tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, driver's memory seat, and 20-inch wheels. Safety features on all 2013 CX-9 models include six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, and a roll-stability control system.

Optional Equipment

All CX-9 models can be had with Mazda's Torque Split All-Wheel-Drive system instead of the standard front-wheel drive. Most other major options are bundled into packages and include a navigation system, power moonroof, and a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system. Grand Touring models can be had with a rear-seat entertainment system that includes a DVD player and 9-inch screen.

Under the Hood

The sole engine on the 2013 Mazda CX-9 is a sophisticated 3.7-liter V6 that puts out 273 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, ample muscle to move this vehicle. All CX-9 models use an automatic transmission, in this case a smooth-shifting 6-speed version with manual-shift mode. CX-9s come standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available and is a smart option if you regularly drive in inclement weather, especially snow. While this vehicle does not have class-leading fuel economy, the CX-9 is rated up to 24 mpg and drinks regular unleaded gasoline. Maximum towing capacity is on the lighter end at 3,500 pounds.

3.7-liter V6
273 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (FWD), 16/22 mpg (AWD)

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2013 Mazda CX-9 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 269 Ratings for the 2007 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

I love my CX9

By on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,202

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I was looking for a smaller SUV, the Hyundai Tucson, which I had owned in the past. I only looked at the CX9 because it had better incentives. At first look I thought it was too big, then I drove it. Handles great, even on mountain roads where I live. At the time I still had a child to transport and two German Shepherds. I really no longer need such a large vehicle for kids, but for the dogs and shopping and thrift stores, it is too good not to keep. I have the third row seats, which have been used only a few times, but there was plenty of room for the passengers. With the third row down the dogs have lots of room. My only issue is with the mileage, but it has been 100% reliable. My 2012 Touring, with upgrades has all the bells and whistles I didn't know I wanted, but love them. Have been looking to trade for a smaller car with better mileage, but can't seem to commit to the trade with how much I love my CX9."

17 people out of 29 found this review helpful

Perfect for drivers <6ft tall and regular size

By on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Has everything I need and well designed."

Cons: "Radio tuning knob is way too small"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My wife and I are both less than 5'9. We have two kids in carseats and three dogs (200lbs of dog weight). The cargo area fits the dogs comfortably. I test drove larger SUVs, a PathFinder, HighLander, Outback, and Sienna. My research had Highlander at a clear favorite. I do like Toyota and I was a Toyota owner. Then I test drove the Mazda. Then I imagined all the miles I would be driving in this thing as the kids and dogs grew. Test drives matter. I think it matters for the driver to enjoy the drive. I can put a double stroller in the back and we still have room for the massive Costco runs that come with kids (diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc). I also got the roof racks to place a luggage box on. I have zero complaints about this car. Yes, I'd like better gas mileage, but not so much as to force a change to this car. I look forward very much to 200k on this vehicle. I love Subaru and Outbacks too. Basically, if you want an Outback but you need to haul more stuff regularly, then I would check out either the 2WD or 4WD CX9 and I think you'll be very pleased."

11 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I've ever owned, and I've owned a lot

By on Monday, September 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"After 68.000 miles and five years this vehicle still looks, feels, and sounds like new. And it has NEVER required any work other than routine maintenance. I love the handling. The only negative I have experienced is the gas mileage, which I can live with."

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Very happy with this car

By on Wednesday, September 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "see review"

Cons: "see review"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Before my CX 9 I always owned high end luxury cars which is all I can compare this car to. It has all the bells and whistles and handles very well; even in a near miss with a deer. There are only two things about this car that could be improved. The blue-tooth voice was very difficult to program; even the dealer could not figure it out. The seats could use a bit more padding, especially if you drive for long periods of time. A great car for the cost!"

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Luxury for a fair price

By on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Easy to drive, feels like a larger car"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is comfortable, with great leather seats. Easy to park, love the pick up and alerts when another vehicle is in a blind spot. Large enough for a large family, or three large dogs! Love this car."

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

First time Mazda Owner - Blown away by quality

By on Friday, August 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Body integrity, options, handling, power, comfort"

Cons: "No Daytime Running lights, mpg a bit low"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Traded in a 2013 Highlander SE that had interior rattles Toyota could not seem to resolve. Very disappointing given Toyota's reputation. Started scouting CX-9, finally dumped the Highlander lease in favor of a 2015 CX-9 AWD Touring w/Tech Pckg. Wanted the extra ride comfort of the 18" wheels, so stayed away from the Grand Touring's 20" rims. 5 months into the new lease, I can say this: the quality on all levels blows the Toyota away. It feels solid, heavy, because an SUV should feel that way, unlike the Highlander which felt tinny, lightweight, and under-insulated. Body integrity, inside and out, is tight and well put together. Comfort, handling, power and looks are exactly what the reviews have been saying. Mountain curves and highway cruising is phenomenal. Bottom line? Best car I've ever owned, I'm racking up too many miles than the lease allows, because I always look for excuses to drive it. It's that kind of car. I'll buy it at lease end anyway, so no big deal. If you're looking in this category, BUY. THIS. CAR."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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